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Stock Markets in the Middle East Fall Sharply

Stock markets in the Middle East have fallen sharply after a difficult week for all major global share indexes.

The Dubai Financial Market closed down 7%, while the Saudi exchange also lost 7% after Fitch ratings agency cut its outlook for the country.

Last week, the Dow Jones in the US fell 6%, while the UK’s FTSE 100 posted its biggest weekly loss this year of 5%.

Investors are concerned about a slowdown in China and the knock-on effects for the global economy.

Both France’s Cac 40 and Germany’s Dax indexes lost 7% of their value last week.

In the Middle East, there is particular concern about low oil prices, which are down by more than a half this year and have been falling steadily since May, when Brent Crude stood at $68 a barrel. A barrel now costs $45.

This is mainly due to an abundance of supply, in large part from from US shale oil producers, which are weakening OPEC’s once dominant position in global oil markets. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are all members of OPEC.

Moods were further dampened by a report from Fitch which cut the agency’s outlook on Saudi Arabia from “stable” to “negative”. The move reflects concerns about the future of the country’s finances, which are heavily dependent on revenues from exporting oil.